Going to college in another state is both an exciting and terrifying experience, but nonetheless an interesting one. There were many pros and cons you had to weigh when deciding whether or not you wanted to go out of state, and now that you've made your decision to make the journey across state borders, these pros and cons are reappearing stronger than ever. I've compiled a list of some of the general pros and cons to help my fellow out-of-staters as they try to sort through their mixed emotions about leaving. I'll start with the cons, so we can get the bad stuff out of the way first.
1. It seems like the majority of people you know are staying in-state.
While researching data analysts Dr. Krista Mattern and Jefrey Wyatt's, "Student Choice of College", I found that an average of 67 percent of students stay in-state for college. With a well over 1/2 majority, it's likely that most of your friends fit into that crowd. Luckily in our world of ever-expanding technology, it will be much easier to keep in touch with your friends- even when you're several hundred miles away.
2. You know little to no people going to college with you.
With the remaining 33 percent of students who aren't staying close, it's unlikely that any of them will be coming with you. Maybe there'll be one or two familiar faces if you're lucky. Don't worry, you'll make lots of new friends and like I mentioned earlier, it won't be impossible to keep in touch with your old friends.
3. You're worried about being homesick.
This is common for almost everyone. It's probably your first time spending several months away from home. You can try to combat this feeling by hanging up old pictures in your dorm room and contacting friends and family often. From what I have heard from other out-of-state students, the feeling of homesickness usually persists for the first week or so, and eventually fades as you grow more accustomed to college life.
4. You don't know the area as well.
Whether you've only visited your college's town during orientation or your family has taken several vacations there before, lets face it: you don't know the area as well as your home town. This may seem daunting, especially if you're bringing your car to campus with you. However, if you make friends with some local students, chances are many of them will be happy to show you around.
5. Often times, colleges are full of in-state students.
While this especially rings true for public schools, just because most of the students are from the same state, it doesn't mean they all know each other. Even in-staters are likely to only know a handful of people from their high school, and that doesn't necessarily mean they're going to like all of them. All students – both in-state and out-of-state – are going to be looking for new friends at this time.
But, there are plenty of pros to go along with it.
1. It's a new experience.
This probably one of the main reasons why you chose to go to an out-of-state college in the first place. The people you meet, the location, the physical and social climate, the food – all of these things are going to be different than what you are used to. A lot of change can be scary, but when you're certain of your decision to go out-of-state, it can be very exciting too.
2. You'll stand out in a good way.
This is especially true for public schools, where only a small percentage of students come from out-of-state. Being from out-of-state makes you seem interesting – almost like how people view foreign exchange students. At my orientation I received numerous questions about what my life was like where I came from. Also, your out-of-state background can be a great conversation starter when it comes to trying to make new friends.
3. You get a fresh start.
College is the perfect occasion to start over, and the less people who know you beforehand, the more truth that statement holds. If you didn't like something about yourself, now is the time when you can change it. If nobody knows who you are, they won't have any expectations for how you are going to act.
4. You'll meet lots of new and different people
Since most of the people at your school will come from a different area, you'll get to meet a bunch of new people with different perspectives. It's really cool to get to talk to people who have grown up differently than you. This will help you broaden your horizons and your friend groups.
5. You'll gain more independence
While you'll gain independence no matter where you go to college, it increases for out-of-state students. Not only are you no longer going to be living under your parents' roof, you're not going to be living anywhere near them. You won't be able to take your laundry home like some of your friends may be planning to do, but you won't be bound by monthly or weekly family obligations to attend. By being forced into living on your own (or with a roommate) in a far off place, you'll be able to grow into a more responsible young adult.
Some of the pros and cons overlap a bit with each other, but that's the point. Going to an out-of-state college isn't an all good or an all bad thing. It's the mixture of new, noteworthy and nerve-racking experiences that entices some students, and pushes others away. Just remember: if you are starting to feel worried about going away to college, it doesn't mean you've made the wrong decision, because we're all feeling that way.
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